My courage failed me this week. Hard and scary news from my surgeon crumpled me for a while, but I’m standing tall again.
Sometimes life holds a lot of scary and uncertain things, and I’m learning that it’s OK to be terrified, to bawl your eyes out through a doctor visit, and to hide away for a bit to face your fears so you can emerge into the world again with renewed courage and more fervent hope.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence
by every experience in which you really
stop to look fear in the face.
You are able to say to yourself,
‘I lived through this horror.
I can take the next thing that comes along.'”
I love that quote. It helps me breathe a little deeper, stand a little straighter, and know that this next hard thing, whatever it is, I’ll be able to handle it.
Today I’m so grateful for my little hideaway here in Australia with Bear. Our lovely little farm that has so many spots of peace and stillness and beauty.
This morning I went for a wander in the sunshine, capturing a few of the sun-drenched Autumn things I love.
The sunshine feels so good in Autumn. It doesn’t have that searing heat of Summer, but more of a cuddling warmth that makes me want to stay outside all day long and take naps in the hammock.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to get started looking for beauty. I get distracted by the piles of stuff to be sorted, the shed begging to be cleaned out, and the fence that needs to be mended. But once I put my mind to it, I start spotting things everywhere, and with each discovery my heart says, “See! I TOLD you!” And I grin and feel my world get bigger than the painful/scary/awful thing weighing me down.
I like that.
I also like working with my hands during times like this. Fear loses its strength when we take our attention away from it and focus on making good things.
My favorite good things today are homemade sun-dried tomatoes with capers. Mmm, they’re so lovely and so easy to make.
Since I have an abundance of flies around the farm (thanks, goats, dogs, and birds!), actually drying the tomatoes in the sunshine is not possible, so I use my oven. Simply wash, core, and halve the tomatoes, make a single layer on cookie sheets, and stick them in a cool oven (about 200-250 F) for 8-12 hours. Check them every few hours and rotate if necessary. Once they’re dry (I like mine pliable rather than crispy), layer them in a sterile glass jar with plump capers, then fill in all the cracks with a hearty drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Make sure you keep a film of oil over the top of the tomatoes to keep them from spoiling. Leave them for a few weeks to mature and then fish them out to use in whatever you like. Don’t chuck the olive oil out! Use the richly tomato-flavored oil to fry onions and garlic or drizzle over veggies before roasting. Delicious.
What do you do to restore your courage after a scary situation? I’d love to hear your ideas.